Wednesday October 7th, 2009

You might have heard lately that Braylon Edwards is a member of the Bad Guy Club. You don't apply to that club; people apply for you, after checking your credentials for roughly 2.1 seconds. Edwards got in for "off-the-field issues." (I've always wondered: if a guy has an Oedipus complex, but he never thinks about his mom while he's playing, is that an off-the-field issue?)

Edwards' latest off-field issue was that he allegedly threw a punch at one of LeBron James' friends outside a nightclub. No charges have been filed, but that was apparently the last straw for Browns coach Eric Mangini, who does not even want his players to speak, let alone throw a punch, outside a nightclub. Mangini shipped Edwards to the Jets.

Edwards was a frustrating Brown. I think he will be a star for the Jets, and people in New York will wonder how he ever got into the Bad Guy Club in the first place.

Some guys aren't meant to play for losers. They don't handle it well. And Edwards is one of them.

One of the knocks on Edwards is that he really wants to be a celebrity. Well, I covered Edwards in all four of his seasons at the University of Michigan, and let me tell you: that is absolutely true. If you spent 19 minutes with him, you'd know that.

As his father Stan, a former NFL player himself, said Wednesday, "Braylon's personality is that he really enjoys the attention."

To which I say: so what? The spin on coming out of Cleveland is that Edwards' preoccupation with being famous kept him from being a star. I'd say the Browns preoccupation with Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn had a lot more to do with it.

Edwards has a big ego, is sensitive to the idea that people might not like him, and he really hates losing. What do you think will happen when you put him on an awful team, with a lousy quarterback? (Or, in this case, TWO lousy quarterbacks?) The Browns lost, Edwards got frustrated, people blamed him (fairly, in some cases) and he handled it poorly. It was a predictable cycle.

"It becomes a spiral because the team isn't winning," Stan Edwards said. "And part of the reason, in some regard, is his performance. What's interesting is when the team's not winning and he still plays well, people still point the finger at him. He's not in Cleveland now. We'll see what happens now."

What happens now is a hunt for 3-13. That's the best-case scenario for the 0-4 Browns, and only because they are lucky enough to play the Lions, Raiders and Chiefs. They are 29th in the 32-team league in total offense, and they just got rid of their best offensive playmaker. They are also dead last in total defense. I don't know, maybe they can dominate games with their punting.

Edwards, meanwhile, gets to go to the media capital of the world, to play for a contending team with a gifted and mature young quarterback, Mark Sanchez. In other words, the Browns got so mad at him that they gave him everything he ever wanted.

New Yorkers won't care about Edwards' Cleveland transgressions, because that's just how sports fans think. They won't care that he once drove 120 miles per hour (which was incredibly stupid) or that he was supposedly drinking with Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth killed a pedestrian (Edwards was not with Stallworth at the time of the accident) or that he got into a fight with one of James' friends (unless that keeps LeBron from signing with the Knicks, which is a stretch).

Edwards has always thought of himself as a star, before he ever earned that label. But he also managed to catch 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns two seasons ago with Anderson as his quarterback. He has had a problem with dropped passes, which his father attributes to pressing. Browns fans say it was a lack of focus.

For everything Browns fans say about Edwards, remember that Raiders fans said worse about Randy Moss when he was traded to the Patriots. And we all know how that worked out.

Lets face it: when Braylon is on, he's as good as anybody in the league, Stan Edwards said. He's been off more than he should have been since he's been in the league.

I suspect he'll be on a lot more in New York. Heck, he might even get kicked out of the Bad Guy Club.

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